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tv   Discussion on Moderate Islam  CSPAN  January 8, 2016 12:38am-2:14am EST

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presidentially nominated legal advisor in place we are deprived of the full weight of legal authority and leadership necessary to do the best job on behalf of the american people. here again we have a superbly qualified nominee for more than six months ago was approved unanimously by the senate foreign relations committee command his nomination has been blocked on the senate floor. one of our most significant bilateral relationships is with mexico, and this is true economically, environmentally, socially, on border security, law enforcement cooperation and immigration. it is a relationship that thrives on mutual respect which is why the president chose a profession, civil servant roberta jenkinson and a career civil servant
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to be our ambassador to mexico city. and it is disparaging to that country that we don't have the respect to send the ambassador that that country needs and deserves. about his nomination was approved by the committee, been endorsed by six previous ambassadors to mexico from the public in and democratic of ministrations alike and yet the vote on her nomination has yet to be scheduled. in scheduled. in the coming year we have a huge agenda of issues with europe encountering all we have seen what happened in belgium, in paris, the need of any number of nations. there all members of our coalition. they make up part of the 65 have joined the fight to destroy and yet we have not reciprocated with respect to the ambassadors in place of
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work at the highest levels of national security in order to help organize that effort and promote america's commercial interest and ensure the security and effectiveness of congressionally mandated changes in the visa waiver program. all of these are issues with direct impact on the safety and prosperity of the american people, so this is not the time to have vacancies not diplomatic posts and certainly not the time to have vacancy because 99 other senators or 90 other senators or 80 are being refused the opportunity to have a vote. the senate can fix this. by voting soon on these ambassadorial nominations already approved by committee, eight already approved by committee on the senate floor waiting for a vote, nine in the committee
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waiting to be passed down. so in making these requests i just want to make it clear , i fully respect the senate's right to deliberate carefully and indeed the advise and consent process was meant to provide that kind of deliberation. that there is a point where the equities involved in these relationships in our national security interest in economic interest mandate that on behalf of the american people we should have about. so as somebody who oppose the nomination come to the floor and state the reasons for opposition in the senators make up their minds and pay the respect to the rest of the senate that they deserve to be able to cast their votes and make up their minds. but in this notion that one united states senator or two can stop the entire process
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and put the united states not just in an embarrassing situation but in a negative situation that hurts flexibility and our interest and set back our ability to carry values at the highest level and sits back our ability to organize fully our effort to defeat and protect the people of the united states of america. i asked mini asked men the men and women that we significantly qualified and supported by messengers confirmation in the process should go forward a reasonable pace. that is fair and it is the good democratic way to do business. we faced many challenges the world today. we should not be making our own job charter ofjobs harder by failing to put ourselves in the best position possible. so i appealed to the united
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states senate, please act without further delay on these and other nominations for you and in so doing you will strengthen both america and the institution in which you serve. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> as these confirmations are held up do you think that you have a major problem now in north korea that too much time i have been paid to rent, stereos left? >> let me just -- north korea has never been left unattended, not for one day. they have meetings, we have had constant consultations. on the 1st trip that i made to china when i raise the issue of the climate negotiation that resulted in china joining with us i
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spent most of the trip and most of the timethat time in north korea. china had a particular approach that it wanted to make and we agreed and respected to give them space to be able to implement. today in my conversation with the chinese i made clear that has not worked and we cannot continue business as usual. have there been any number of trips, a number of conversations that will show you how that premise is absolutely inaccurate, without foundation. >> track down. >> it is time for everybody to make sure that this does not continue business as usual. >> on the next washington journal massachusetts congressman jim mcgovern.
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for state of the union speeches by former presidents. president jimmy carter followed by president ronald reagan president bill clinton and saturday morning at 1030 when manuel miranda playwright and star sunday morning at 101984 presidential campaign. >> home we elect to replace that man has to have the trust and confidence. private promises in public statements for the american people being the same.
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>> the washington institute for near east policy posted to muslim academics. >> we all know what extremism looks like. we've had enough visuals. paris and charlie abdo and hopefully ends with paris in san bernardino and the other atrocities we have seen. we all know what extremism looks like. what is moderation look like? is moderation merely the absence of beheading? the absence of shooting innocence?
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today we're going to take a deep dive in what could be a sensitive topic and the topic that i think resonates well beyond this run, well beyond the policymaking environment and to our own great national debate about the role of religion in society, the tolerance and expectations and welcome and participation of muslim americans in our society and what we mean by moderation and reform. islam and religion more general.
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i could not be more pleased than to have the pairing that we have today on this podium to discuss this very sensitive but i think extraordinarily important issue. is there a moderate islam? what is moderation meaning islam? how does one achieve it? we are fortunate to have two people who exemplify but one of our speakers is professionally seceded with which is the concept of moral courage people can display in society culture and it is about ideas and beliefs, standing for change even if there is a great personal call.
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both of our speakers have exemplified that idea, that ideal of moral courage within the context of islam in our society. first i am very proud to turn to her shed mansion. this is not the 1st time speaking, but it has been some years since she has been with us. i am delighted she is back. she is a prominent speaker and lecture public intellectual, author of books such as allah will liberty, and love. muslims call for reform in her place.
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any enemy nominated documentary faith without fear. i'm delighted you can find time to join us. i call today a discussion and exchange of views and i think that is the spirit in which we will proceed. i am delighted to introduce my colleagues here at the institute, the western fellow at the washington institute which is of course arabic from moderation. he is a political scientist with the greciandegrees from two american universities, establish the american studies program. mohammed knows that is on
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brush with moral courage not too long ago and has suffered for that and his own work, life, environment back in jerusalem, the object of death threats and car bombings, car burnings, very pleased that he is at home here in washington so they can spread his message by moderation and islam. i am intrigued as a student of islam, islamic politics, intrigued to have two people who bring so much intellectual health also personal experience to the themes that we are talking about today, themes of moderation how these words
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can be applied in practice and how i am you are looking forward to their exchange. new line time for lots of discussion. >> good afternoon, everybody. pleased to be here. i would like to begin on a provocative note by suggesting to my good friend and sometime hero professor mohammed that in fact he is not a moderate. he is a reformer. now, that may or may not mean you will have to change the name of your movement, sir. but i want to explain what, i mean, by the difference between these two ideas. moderate and reformist.
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and to do that i will start with a very brief video, one that i did in london, england for the guardian newspaper. it is only about a minute long but will give you a good foundation for what i'm about to say over the next few minutes. let's roll. >> moderate muslims are not very moderate today. the traits of orthodoxy including document fear and what they are most afraid of is the fear about sting out of group identity. and why the moderate muslims deny the central fact? because they are steeped in group identity. so the speaking out is
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selling out. i am not a moderate muslim. i am a reformist which means somebody who recognizes that the quran contains three times as many verses calling on muslims to engage in critical thinking rather than blind submission and in that sense reformist muslims are at least as authentic as the so-called moderates. okay. so things are changing. and i will explain what, i mean, by that in just a moment. let me start with the concept of the moderate muslim. i mentioned in my video for the guardian that very often moderates are marked by defensiveness. defensiveness 1st and foremost about western imperialism, so much so that they are distracted from dealing with the imperialists within islam
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itself. the extremists who study after study shows target and kill muslims on far greater numbers than do foreign imperial powers. so defensiveness is one hallmark of the moderate muslim. another hallmark is fear. fear of what? as ii also explained, fear of busting out of group identity. and what, i mean, by that is many moderate muslims are prone to calling people like me and people like professor to johnny sellouts, traders, you have heard it all before my uncle tom's, native informants simply for taking the risk of speaking truth to power, of having the
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moral courage to do the right thing in the face of our own fears. where does this come from? i think it is cultural. it is not religious. as a matter of fact, the quran contains many, many progressive passages about the need to display moral courage. one such passage says believers conduct yourself with justice and bear true witness before god even if it be against yourself, your parents comeau your family, as in your extended family. so speak truth to your own when there is injustice among your own. that is chapter four verse 135. there is still another beautiful passage much simpler than this the states
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god does not change the condition of the people. until they change what is inside themselves. that is chapter 13 verse 11. i could go on, but, but i give you two examples of where the quran calls on us to be brave within our own tribe. so the defensiveness and fear of many moderate muslims is not i would argue religious but cultural. what do i mean? i mean, that within particularly arab culture there is a custom nondesigner and in particular it refers to group honor. women primarily of the biggest victims of this as women are assigned the
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position of carrying the shaman the family. so that if a woman is accused of transgressing warm boundaries by being seen with a man whom she is not related to or perhaps dating or god for bid dating somebody outside of the faith, she will be in many parts of the world accused of dishonoring the family and will pay a heavy price for it. but i can assure you that men are also victims of group honor and that they too are infantilized colonnade to be children so that much less is expected of men in terms of maturity that is expected of women which means that many men under the umbrella group honor and get away with all manner of crime and mistreatment of others
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simply because they are not the ones who bring shame to the family. so in different ways both sexes are made, the choices are limited as to what they can do and what they can dream of doing. ..
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>> >> moderates are not what we ought to be seeking. what we ought to be seeking in supporting our the reformist. and now let me connect these two ideas that the borders -- reformers. based on a documentary of my first book is based without fear.
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in the star of the documentary was to go tuesday trait to do a screening among arab-americans. my mother had no idea what was in store for her. i did in that went because it went to see how my mother could handle the hostility. it came and she was shocked shocked, but by something more that happened afterwards. when pbs made copies of my book free of charge i have to believe there was a huge bonfire in detroit that night. [laughter] out of the corner of her arrival and mother noticed over the course of eight to
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our reception and a group of muslims is getting bigger and bigger after all the tv cameras and microphones left these young muslims approached me and my mother and said the keys so much for supporting your daughter. is so rare to see a muslim parents speak -- steel and by their daughter while she speaks the truth mother said the akio but why dash why did you say that's when the cameras were here? so other freedom with the
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muslims concede they are not alone? anand and number looked at each other and one of them finally stepped forward to say you don't understand. we live here. you can leave to albers from now but we stay in this community we cannot be accused of disarming our families. thought this is america and children of the first amendment but still the cultural pressure of group honor to intimidate in silence them from speaking their truth as reformist muslims. alternately this is why i
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suggest the professor, one of my heroes is not a moderate. he takes risks that ruffles the others within his community. he is willing to put his life of space. he is not defensive about the backlash that comes his way. quite the opposite, he seems to be extremely called in and to level headed in and philosophical about it. what i would like to leave you with is the good news is those of this world although rare will be more and more
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populous as you see the next generation of muslims. not too long ago i did an interview on and held his year-end i received hate mail. that is to be expected with every take a position on anything. but i also got love balms more than hate mail on twitter, facebook and a sign of progress not a single death threat. it sounds crazy to suggest that is progress but on this issue, it is.
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and they think since then 11 when many of the people who are now on twitter were about this tall are now this tall and they have not internalized that defensiveness the older brothers and sisters or parents have. so for them, open dialogue and honest debate are almost a given and that is why i will go out on a limb and predict that in my lifetime lifetime, we will see a visible movement for gay and lesbian dignity and to
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arguing for full and unconditional equality of women and audible calls for respective religious minorities. all of which are supported in the curve on. -- chiron. the question is about to cultural reform. and as martin luther king, jr. himself began to understand cultural reform takes a very long time if a country like united states of scientific rationality and individual liberty takes 200 years too seriously
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tackle legislation surely it can't get off some of that time to muslims to tackle our versions of segregation as well. thank you very much. [applause] >> that was very touching. having opened this discussion they think of myself more as a moderate rather than reformist in the recent is the meaning of
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reform i don't want to go back to the original to what it was or the state of affairs i want to move:from the past to the future. that is why i would like to call myself a moderate rather than and reformist and i hope i can share my path to the me to help others. maybe this way we can have this dialogue. >> i believe if moderation is balance and justice at is
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humanity this is my way religion. what i believe if is islam and judaism are parts of religion and the conciliatory peace part of the human pursuit for security and part of the solution and it is part of the problem of who is right and he was wrong but can both be right? it depends where you sit you may see despair or loved or hate that that is where i discovered a piece is like
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the blind people asked to describe an elephant or each touch and they give their own description so they come up with different answers but they're all wrong and they are all right so we can be both depending on where we are. knocking on the door of her muslim neighbor of course, said the muslim i will get you some he said the akio cajun give me a copy of the other quran? which one?
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the one that is practiced by muslims so similarly he says upon his return from france i see muslims without islam. and we can look to the extremist he is a jew without judea's some to see him as the christian and to in this way and believes it is rising and what divides us how we look at the text
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and what we do about the text so what they say and what people understand are totally different things. what you see depends on what your looking for. so those extremist to read those books with a closed mind. so to take those out of context and of all those years and expectations that is right extremists do exist in our religions.
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we see them the way they are and in this way this is what differentiates the question is judea's some or hinduism a share values of peace and compassion and kindness charity and justice that is presented in all religions to unto others issue and have done unto you so we are to be living the torah so we
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will seek refuge from the cross and of quran that would forbid the there one of my favorite verses. so also the religions that call for peace so here i believe my philosophy is to try a two-seat immediate value that is moderation in to talk about the doctrine
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they're all different expressions to be social harmony in peaceful coexistence we also find that in islam. they would say the torah is in two parts. what do you do? walken the middle so basically you will stay and to fall into corruption by
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making that balance refine that in all religions. but i want to focus today on moderation because there are laws to day about islam but i am here to bring riches of the understanding so we don't think we're right to end the other is wrong as we try to seek. of course, that moderation one says that we have created you.
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as a balanced nation. this is first 143. it is preceded linguistically to mean justice but this vs. preceded by another verse. but this foundation is built on three columns. preceded by a first 142. to say it is a path to deliver ince.
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which is on the golden rule and then we walk one to justice as the core. in to be a witness we have to be truthful but these are the characteristics taking as to the middle part that leads us to do justice. so this is in terms of moderation.
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to be humanistic which can only to begin to except the car run to combine faith in science and one of these characteristics this is what the quran sense of what it means to be a moderate how do you know, you we're doing what is right? is the first says he reads the book of truth of description of this which
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preceded it from the gospel and the distinction between right and wrong in the muslim moderate believes this is what the provinces as relieved you into the nation's. not the culture not the religious or the language but to unite to all mankind. it could have me all of god's will so basically he created as a diversity. basically he will guide.
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and not a struggle against muslims or nonbelievers blame not supposed to be a preacher so this way it is god to guide says rather than people so it is the word of truth in then whoever is guided is guided for himself. because the quran says the world will deny and that of
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witches common between us and on judgment day we will be judged by a not here to judge you were what he believes it is god on judgment day that we decided which we differ so in more than one first we hear that i will judge between new slow to believe that jesus said of god that he is a profit of will decide on judgment day that is fine because they seek the values that our common because
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those other values are not the reason of the conflict here on this earth that is why a moderate does not believe for the converts or the nonbelievers because the quran says if they do not believe in god it is the account with his llord. so to me it -- believe in the equality of sexes to a demand and woman from the same that is why he is not terrified of woman i do not believe for a woman shouldn't stay at home and be an educated. but i also believe they have the right and freedom to
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believe what they deserve. i do not believe in female genital mutilation that it is part of his long and is not mentioned because some societies do that that islam is to blame. also i do not believe in stoning the adulterous woman and from among you and testify also a moderate does
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not believe in a suicide bombing. or to take the lives of innocent persons he does not believe in since of punishment from the quran because it is full of verses with those blessings bestowed on you. were to be have favors bestowed upon you. to believe in god's messengers that god did not
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discriminate with any of them. into acceptably what is in harmony with of quran. in with the scriptures into teaches children that are contained in them. and what we are being taught as children so basically that is why our children should be taught christian and jewish and muslim wisdom
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even the non heavenly religions others say religion is a merge to the same point as long as we reach the same goal. the bystanders that stand up to the extremist and strive to spread the values of reconciliation with the open creative mind leading to reconciliation that leaves you democracy and stability and prosperity this is the model of moderation in
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leading us to security eventually. even a christian to say it is a of waging war of hate to conquer fear when moderates keeps silent i will not be a bystander to break the wall of science it
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is my philosophy and my religion. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you both very much. i will pose a couple of questions now you have heard how he has explained his view of moderation mentioning a couple of words rational progressive humanistic equality, is this how you view moderation? are we talking about definitions? what is the difference? >> first of all, i don't see this as a semantic debate to put a practical discussion
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about reality. when the professor talks about moderation that descriptor i'd buy it. i love it. i think it is wonderful so in theory i would be a moderate to. but the reality is moderates today do not behave in the wade you just described. this is a vision that you have enunciated it is a beautiful vision and i believe we will get there as a critical mass of muslims we will get there but we are not there precisely because moderates do not act in pluralistic ways to humanize all kinds of people to give equal value in equal
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treatment to the lives other than their own and when it comes down to is something that martin luther king, jr. pointed out when he had to encounter tepid and liberals in the south, he pointed out in times of moral crisis moderation is a cop out. he meant to win a system of beliefs that have the potential to be wise and tolerant has become so corrupt to be the opposite
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then being moderate in the way that you described will not swing that pendulum back but rather to be radical but what i would call reformist. he would say this to those in the south who were an agreement the racial segregation was wrong but rather than all of the protest and demonstrations and calls, they wanted to take it slowly the moderates wanted to be incremental to
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end segregation in he pointed out the impact and injustice is not incremental it is heavy and urgent and that is why we have to take what he calls it a radical approach to end it. i would argue in the same vein that we ashes muslims need to take a reformist approach to an end these injustices that is happening in the name of our religion and when we do we will not get to a point of utopia but a point of moderation. i'm describing the process of reform. you are describing common in my view, the destination
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that is humanistic kind and loving and compassionate but we're not going to get there merely by not doing acts of terror. but by standing up, of vocalizing a plural vision in taking the backlash that we have taken from our peers and elders and sometimes our own families and that is what stops most moderates from becoming those reformers because it is the theory to bust out of
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groupthink and dogma that personal cost is why we seen behind closed doors to condemn the loath to point his even one figure to ourself and zero not to the fact that we are responsible for what is happening. '01 to emphasize this is changing and anybody who follows social media can attest that young muslims to they don't use the word moderates they increasingly
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use the r word of reform. so we all want to describe ourselves to get to that destination but we do not believe that that absence of attention will get us there. we have to work and create to achieve the presence of justice. >> that is a powerful argument. [laughter] , that you have to be an agitator and though most radical does this have to be
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radical reformist to achieve those objectives? >> a story about her being elected in high-school but then she put the photos of the ayatollah khamenei there and then they said to put them down that is inappropriate to. i remember i was also elected president of the american university in beirut and president of the east urban council to have
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pictures in the president came to a meeting but we move on from there. and then to mention martin luther king to put down the pitchers of take a vara and i also believe in the wisdom as a festering problem between them and then to say
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you are also right. and then to say how can they both be right? and that is why she was somewhat upset. what might work for south africa we should see things as they are.
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and what happens when it's sold the african:dash a south africa. and those who are pro occupation or in collaboration and those who are supporting the cause. so that would not work in our case and why i believe in dialogue.
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but in this way i believe balance and in moderation is the answer. but in trying to reach a vote he is like mccarthy before him in and in his appeal with hundreds of thousands of people.
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with germany and the holocaust and the fragment against jews to erupt into the holocaust. it did not happen in a vacuum and that is where we have to be very careful about what we say and what we do then we will be able to reach out to to resolve conflicts like the novel "to kill a mockingbird" to see
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things from that point of view that as well believe the palestinian-israeli conflict that is my hope if you are optimistic or pessimistic the your lateen at the present but i imbuing the future that is what i hope will happen to deal with this conflict. >> let me add quickly i want to applaud the professor condemnation of donald trump's legacy. about banding muslims in coming, from the united states.
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i recognize them in calling for reform and suggesting that moderation in times of moral crisis isn't moderation and is a better approach. and not in any way suggesting this. the back to and bill k. one of the informal teachers by the name of lenience smith a white from the u.s. south end she could have taught him to stand for his right -- rights as the policy of a
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black man. regard this as skin color or gender or nationality and to empathize of their identities but lillian smith there is a difference between a destructive the extremists and constructive. and all she meant was somebody about what needs to change and even calling
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somebody like that as an extremist sounds scary and misleading the you have that choice if you become focal you will be deemed these extremist lyndon moderates like i have been likened it to osama bin on bin client told them just a liberal version which makes me wonder what was the last time i feel look played into a building? but when we talk about change and positive change in particular it is
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beautiful land islamic it is what lillian smith called lake walking eat like a chicken down the middle of the road and being run over. you have to stand for something and you do. this is why. with every shred of respect i wholeheartedly embrace your point of moderation is what we need to become we need attention and people to get out of their comfort zone it doesn't have to be ugly but does have to be
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engagement most people will not unless they are piled up to do so. that is why interface dialogue leads nowhere. it is all about exchanging platitudes of love and common ground but does not challenge our own belief system and why. and whether we need to change yourself to get to that point tension is ski -- it is key. >> the thought that would trigger. [laughter] >> they don't know much
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about islam. and with a jewish professor and as they argued before that the quran is anti-semitic to describes the muslims and jews as p.i.g.s. and apes and at that time i had not read it. so when it was my turn when i challenged them with to
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say that quran doesn't do that so he got upset and left but he went to his office to get the quran and could not find the copy piggyback and said i will read the verses there were two verses that said that god punished the seventh pictures to make them into p.i.g.s. and monkeys and apes and swine or something. but this is about god punishing the sabbath breaker. not about the jewish as a religion and other forces are misunderstood.
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i hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. the interfaith dialogue but that is where i favor or support interfaith dialogue. >> let's talk about culture. there is, the problem that we're focusing on his deeply connected to culture, not religion you apply it has a lot to do with arab culture
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not how they read the holy book but culture. if it is culture so much it is not so much of problem it is a particular era of problem. >> even that question that you last but that era of
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culture has colonized the faith of islam. and as a haven and a tolerance to the bazaar of petrodollars from the arabian peninsula and in particular on the coastal areas where many wealthy arab tourists go but to cater to them what happens? women in those parts are now forced to wear the alphabet.
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but moderates did not speak about arab cultural colonization of islam but only about american or israelis of what are considered to be muslims and again that is why immoderation in theory is a beautiful thing that unpracticed is a very narrow when it approached to reclaiming the angels of islam. so the trouble with is what? because they haven't wind
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arab culture with the practice of islam. no wonder so often they are told the only proper way to present themselves as a woman is to where the arab garment and sometimes the veil. at the end of the day we have to separate to culture from religion and take the best of both. >> i don't know about culture in that sense but the arabs have the problem with this long because of the fact the quran is in
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arabic so they feel they impose their terminologies and their understandings but to see in terms of extremism and the extremist of the reformer for those who are the extremist and then with
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those students that were pour. and then i have seen others that were wearing modern clothes so those litter doing it so i dunno if it is an arab culture but it is a backward culture.
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because of those who promote values who were taken from the west. . .
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